RUTLAND PLASTICS INVESTS TO SAVE

Injection moulder Rutland Plastics has always had a policy of continuous investment but with the big increases in energy costs in recent years emphasis has shifted towards energy saving measures.

“As a team we have discussed several options for reducing our energy consumption,” says Rutland Plastics’ MD Steve Ayre.  “This includes everything from low energy lighting up to solar panels.  We then ranked them on energy saving potential and payback time.”

These rules were applied when redeveloping the office and factory site with new energy efficient roofing and ventilation for the production area and a similar approach to the new offices and their air conditioning.  Lighting in all low traffic areas, such as corridors and the warehouse, has been fitted with motion sensors.

November 2006

EFFICIENT MOULDING MACHINES

The main area of energy consumption though is the moulding machines.  Rutland Plastics has a wide range of moulding machines but a significant number are at the larger end of the scale.  It has 25 machines in total and there are seven machines from 650T up to 1700T, this will become 8 with a further 1500T machine due for delivery in February.  These machines are major users of electricity and so efficiencies in this area have a greater impact on energy usage.  This move towards greater energy efficiency has meant that recent additions of 160T, 900T and 1700T and the 1500T machine due in February have been Engel EcoDrive machines.

Rutland Plastics uses monitoring equipment to accurately measure energy usage on different production runs.  This means that it has been possible to directly compare the new machines with the older ones.  Depending upon the part being moulded, the reduction in electricity usage can be as much as 60%.  Although this is a relatively small part of the cost of a moulding it does help Rutland Plastics to offset some of the big increases seen in energy and polymer prices.

Another energy saving measure has been the use of barrel jackets.  The payback on the cost of fitting these has been calculated at 18 months and the plan is to fit them to the majority of its moulding machines.

HERE FOR THE LONG TERM

Midlands based trade moulder Rutland Plastics has been in business for more than 50 years manufacturing a diverse range of products including pipe fittings for the gas and water industries, invalid aids, agricultural products, electrical enclosures and recycling products.  They offer a full service from design and toolmaking to machining and assembly, including sonic welding and gluing.  They are specialists in Gas Assisted and large and thick section moulding.

3D PRINTING

Whilst carrying out the various energy saving actions, the company continues to look at new ideas for the future in other areas.  A recent purchase has been a Stratasys Objet Connex 350 3D printer so that the company can now offer in-house rapid prototyping services in a variety of materials.

Steve Ayre adds: “The energy saving measures we have taken, and continue to take, are not only good for the environment but also beneficial to us and in turn our customers.”